Awhile ago a friend made a request to publish by bio. Not just my professional bio, but my personal experience as well. I will try to write when I can and add on to this blog over time.
She had written:
“In this time in our world, in our country, when we’re going through how much to involve ourselves in protecting people and preserving/instilling democracy and freedom in the Middle East, your immigrant story drives the importance of that home. Even though we failed in Vietnam in 1975, in a way, the opportunities that you eventually made use of by immigrating to the US are a victory against tyranny and it is so inspirational. Get that story out there, not to exploit it, or to make you the focus, but to add a dimension to your product that is all the more meaningful. It shows that these pendants are made by someone who really understands what passion and beliefs mean and how they can transform your life and lift you up when you feel life’s circumstances coming down on you. I am not what the average person would call a spiritual person. By my own admission, I am a doubting Thomas. But, when I’m having a particularly tough morning, I put on my pendant and it is a symbol of something bigger than my own problems. I feel unified with the universe and the divine design of the Golden Ratio. It makes me feel connected. So, no matter what beliefs you hold sacred, Christianity, Buddhism, Mormonism, Judaism, Astrology, Love and Family, Phi, Pi, they are really all the same, and Sarah Ha pendants are about preserving one’s passion. In a world full of liars and cheats, I like buying something from someone who has been there and risen above it all. That’s where I want to invest. That’s who I want to support. It matters to me that I’m spending my money on a quality product produced by a quality person who demonstrates that it’s not just about making a buck, but helping people feel a connection to something bigger than their day-to-day struggles.”
I am an immigrant to this country. At the age of 10, I turned back and saw my home country for the last time. I have not been back since. That was 39 years ago. My last image of Vietnam was the droning of the engine as the boat kicked up the wakes as if they too were joining my family to wave goodbye for the very last time. Bits and pieces of my memories going back that far are fleeting. The few remaining photographs my parents had so wisely foreseen to take along with them remain the only tangible connection I now have with Vietnam. The rest are memories–memories that I may not be able to pass on to the next generations to know that their ancestry dated back to the boat people as the finale to the disastrous Ten Thousand Day War.
As I go through the photographs to try to focus my memories, I came to a picture that had a date scrawled on the back. April 15, 1975 (we used the dd/mm/yyy format as customary in Europe as we were colonized by the French).
Our family was happily playing at a park in Saigon. Of course I had to be the highest climber of all my siblings. I had to be better at everything. That was my competitive spirit and I was a very good climber. Fifteen days later, on April 30, 1975, was the fall of Saigon. For our family, everything changed forever. Those smiles would be erased for most of us for a long time and our youths were lost forever as we had to cope with a new reality. Our family struggled, but at the age of 10, I was not able to fully fathom the extent of danger and hardship we had faced.